LINCOLN'S Ellsworth Letter
MAY 25th, 1861
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Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
State of Indiana through the Indiana State Library
(Meseive No. 35)
AND ALSO THE LAST LETTER
FROM COLONEL ELLSWORTH
TO HIS FATHER AND MOTHER
ON May 24th, 1861, a month and a half
after Sumter sunendered and nearly two
months before the first battle of Bull Run, Pres-
ident Lincoln's friend. Colonel Ephraim Elmer
Ellsworth was shot in Alexandria, Virginia, by
Jackson, the proprietor of the Marshall House,
after the impetuous young man had torn down
a confederate flag from the top of the building.
His body was taken to the White House and
lay in state in the East Room. He was the first
officer killed in the War of the Rebellion. The
President on the following day wrote a letter of
sympathy to the sorrowing father and mother.
Ellsworth was a New York boy. At the
age of twenty-two he was Adjutant-General of
the State of Illinois. In 1859 he studied law
in Lincoln's office in Springfield. He organized
in Chicago the military company known as
Ellsworth's Zouaves, and in 1 860 toured the
country holding competitive drills with various
military organizations. When Lincoln came to
Washington Ellsworth accompanied him, and
in April in New York he organized and, although
but twenty-four, became the Colonel of the 1 1 th
New York Infantry, known as the Fire Zouaves,
as the regiment was recruited principally from
the Fire Department of New York City.
This beautiful tribute is perhaps the most
touching of all the letters written by Lincoln.
He was writing of a man whom he knew and
loved. The letter does not reach the lofty tone
of that to Mrs. Bixby of Boston, or the Gettys-
burg address, but in the choice of fitting words
to stricken parents regarding a son and personal
friend, few letters have ever been written that
may compare with it.
By the courtesy of Mr. Judd Stewart, in
whose notable collection of Lincolniana is the
original letter, a fac-simile is shown here.
The photograph of Lincoln is printed di-
rectly from a negative, believed to be the origi-
nal, made by C. S. German, in Springfield,
Illinois, early in I 86 1 , just before the President-
elect went to Washington. That of Ellsworth
is printed directly from the original negative
made by M. B. Brady, probably during the time
when the Fire Zouaves were being organized.
Frederick Hill Meserve.
New York, February 15,1916.
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Fac-siinile o( the orisinal letter in
the Collection of Judd Stewart
E. ELMER ELLSWORTH
Colonel 11 th N.Y. Infantry
THE LETTER FROM COLONEL
ELLSWORTH TO HIS FATHER
AND MOTHER WRITTEN ON THE
NIGHT BEFORE HIS DEATH.
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Twenty -five copies are printed containing
the fac-simile of the Lincoln letter, and also
life photographs of Lincoln and Ellsworth,
and in addition a photographic copy of
the last letter of Ellsworth to his parents.
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